by Emily Hyland

There are two
cases in our building, we were
email-alerted on the
listserv, are not allowed
to know on which
floors the virus
resides.  We decide not to go out
even to the market anymore,
hallway air a risk now
to sip, so we
open our window—

there are no longer
cars down the deep ravine of
Seventh Avenue, so the air
smells of our nearby
ocean.  In the fog of chronic
vehicular exhaust I’d
forgotten we live on an island—
salt wind rides in as if on a
seaside porch in summer.  I’ve not
walked around in
days, tried today to go in
laps around the room but
dizzied quickly in
such small space.  My
calves stand sore,
unused to stillness.  I

went to bed at six, could not keep
an eye open to the small world tonight,
too much afternoon wine
and my mother’s voice
dead in my ear.  Now I’m
up again, being patient with
acclimation to this

stay-home.  Low
backache, book
stack to read, the
spider plants and rug with its tassels, the
jigsaw and the checkers.
Ecosystem of my place, the
first picture of us

hung with our auras
caught in camera’s heat,
two polaroids where we
smile next to each other in
one copper frame, how
easy he is to live with, how
I was spared this quarantine
with my ex—oh
god how much
he would have screamed over
something, run off touching
elevator buttons over and
over again just to
get away from me.  I
feel more challenged
tonight by the beep of the

out-of-reach alarm down the
corridor, which
no one is here to change, which
seems to be sounding its
breedle more often.  There is no
ladder for me to
unsnap the bell sound—its
rhythm brings me back to

mom’s hospital room: in the
peak of night when the
lights were dimmed and
the whole unit was its
most still,
bedside monitors
chirped patient vitals like
northeastern peepers, and
all around the

ICU wing, the
isochronal chorus
trilled ongoing
lifesongs of spring.
Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 15, Number 2
(Fall 2020)

Copyright © 2020
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.


Emily Hyland’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in
armarolla, Belle Ombre, The Brooklyn Review, Mount
Hope Magazine
, Neologism Poetry Journal, Sixfold,
Palette Poetry, The Virginia Normal, and Stretching
.  A restaurateur and English professor from New
York City, she received her MFA in poetry and her MA
in English education from Brooklyn College.  Hyland is the
co-founder of the national restaurant groups Pizza Loves
Emily and Emmy Squared Pizza.  Her cookbook,
The Cookbook
, was published by Ballantine Books, an
imprint of Random House, in 2018.   

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